By Chris Bond
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit small businesses and their employees hard. With the disease spreading quickly and their doors suddenly closed by mandatory shutdowns in early 2020, small businesspeople nationwide were confronted by urgent challenges, such as how to pay rent, keep employees on the payroll, protect benefits like health coverage – and ultimately, how to survive.
To help protect small businesses and jobs in our firm’s home state of Virginia, PLUS teamed up with Pete and Burson Snyder, co-founders of the nonprofit Virginia 30 Day Fund. Launched in early April, the Virginia 30 Day Fund provides direct cash assistance to at-risk small businesses and was initially intended to help small businesses survive over a roughly month-long period as they awaited federal relief funds and the reopening of Virginia’s economy (hence the group’s “30 Day” name). But as the shutdowns wore on and the economic pain grew, so did the organization’s mission.
In addition to helping design and launch the Virginia 30 Day Fund, PLUS has continued to provide extensive pro bono services, including day-in-day-out management of the organization’s earned media strategy. With PLUS’s help, the Virginia 30 Day Fund has launched innovative partnerships with local civic and economic groups – including the Fairfax County NAACP, the Harvest Foundation, the United Way of Greater Charlottesville, the Greater Williamsburg Small Business Relief Fund, Richmond-based clothier Ledbury, and others – and continuously stepped up its efforts to raise and distribute funds to at-risk small businesses in communities throughout Virginia.
The Virginia 30 Day Fund’s work has been covered extensively throughout Virginia and the nation, including by CBS News, Fox Business, The Washington Post, Parade, Tribune News Service, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Virginian-Pilot, Washington Business Journal, Virginia Business, WMAL radio, the Roanoke Times, the Free-Lance Star, the Daily Press and scores of additional local television, radio and print stories, reaching an audience of millions.
Our aggressive earned media strategy has helped the Virginia 30 Day Fund succeed by driving both donations to the group and applications for assistance. As of Thanksgiving, the Virginia 30 Day Fund has assisted more than 750 small businesses throughout Virginia and has raised over $3.25 million, all of which will go into the hands of small business owners thanks to the group’s zero-overhead approach.
The PLUS team is proud to volunteer its services for this urgent, important mission.